" This small, four chapter book is one of the most remarkable
jewels in the Old Testament. It is a love story that is venerated among
literature buffs for its sheer elegance. Ruth, a Moabitess, in her loyal
dedication to Naomi (her widowed mother in law), after her own husband
dies returns with Naomi to Bethlehem where she ultimately marries Boaz,
a wealthy landowner, who is the hero of the piece.
The Book is also treasured among Bible students because it gives us
an unparalleled glimpse into the life and customs of ancient Israel. The
laws concerning gleaning, (Leviticus 19:9-10; 23:22.) the redemption of
property, (Leviticus 25:23-34) and the laws concerning the levirate marriage
(Deuteronomy 25:5-10) are all beautifully illustrated by the narrative.
But it may come as a surprise to New Testament believers that it is
also a key book of prophecy, without which one has little chance of really
understanding the Book of Revelation. The story illustrates the role of
a goel, the kinsman redeemer, who returns the land lost to Naomi by performing
the requirements of redemption. (Cf. Jeremiah 32:6-S27; Revelation 5:1-11)
He also takes for himself a Gentile bride who is destined to appear in
the family tree of David and of Jesus Christ.
The exquisite parallels have been well recognized by many Biblical scholars:
Naomi (typifying Israel) returning to the land, and Ruth (typifying the
Bride of Christ), each established by the act of redemption by the kinsman
redeemer Boaz What is remarkable is how even the subtle details of the
Book of Ruth seem to support the "typological" view.
Ruth learns of the pattern (God's design) of redemption through Naomi.
The church learns of God's redemptive design through Israel. Ruth is introduced
to Boaz by an unnamed servant. The Holy Spirit is always modeled in the
Old Testament types as the "unnamed servant." (Genesis 24, Ruth 2,6) Jesus
told us that the Holy Spirit would never testify of Himself. (John 16:13)
Naomi learns of Boaz through Ruth. Is there a witness burden here for the
church? And where is Ruth during the threshing floor scene? At Boaz's feet!
The threshing floor is one of the idioms which can allude to the tribulation.
One cannot build doctrine from "types," but they can be instructive. The
list goes on and on.
It is interesting that this book can be viewed as prophetic of the Church,
which was "hidden" in the Old Testament. And it is interesting that, even
among the Jewish community, this book is associated with the Feast of Pentecost.
Most writers assume that the Feast of Pentecost was completely fulfilled
in Acts 2.15 But maybe there's still more to come."